Namco Museum Archives Volumes 1 and 2 – Review
Follow Genre: Arcade
Developer: M2 Co.,LTD
Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox ONe
Tested on: PC

Namco Museum Archives Volumes 1 and 2 – Review

Site Score
6.0
Good: The games work flawlessly
Bad: Lack of basic quality of life features
User Score
8.8
(4 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.8/10 (4 votes cast)

Every few years, companies with a long enough lifespan release compilations of their first games. These compilations are generally a mixed bag in quality; the usual factors that make one good or bad are the extra features included, the set of games and the quality of the emulation.

Note: Both volumes are identical with only the games varying, all categories apply to both.

Story

As anyone can guess, the compilation itself has no story, but some of the games in it do. Due to their age, these stories are quite short and lackluster though. Most are limited to a “Girl captured, and the hero goes on a quest to save her”.

These are still the minority though, with most others being pure arcade games without a story. Some of these do still have a bit of setup, such as for example Mappy, where the player is a policeman trying to retrieve stolen items. What all games have in common is a little paragraph about them which can be read before opening the game, along with a separate menu where the controls can be seen.

Graphics

Graphics in all the games have been generally well-adapted, though a few seem to have low resolution. Some of them also have graphical glitches that most likely were already there in the original games but haven’t been fixed.

As a quaint little addition, the player can choose to enable anti-aliasing and scan lines, which, combined with the possibility to alter the games’ display size, allows for an extra nostalgic feel. These alterations to the display size change how much of the window the games occupy, from the original display ratio to full screen.

That said, anything other than the default “Zoom” setting may leave huge blank spaces or decrease the resolution of the games. Another issue is that the collection’s window doesn’t have any way to natively change its resolution or be set to anything other than full screen.

Sound

Sound is well covered in the collection, with high-quality music on all games without exceptions while still maintaining the original feel. All of the music and SFX inside the games are also well ported and kept at a consistent volume without changes in between games.

Similarly to the graphic department, there is a huge lack of settings for sound; to be exact there isn’t a sound menu at all. There is also no way to listen to music from the games independently without playing them.

Gameplay

Namco Museum Archives Volumes 1 & 2 are a pair compilations of mid to late 80s’ arcade games. As it’s to be expected from these types of collections all the games have been optimized to run properly on PC, though the age of some of them leads to clunky controls, stiff movement, or awkward input reading.

The collections themselves are sorely lacking in quality of life settings, with barely any included for graphics or sound. This is also the case for those gameplay related, which only include the possibility to alter the controller’s position. There is no possibility to re-map the controls to anything other than the awkward default scheme.

There is not much to mention about the games included either; the expected classics such as Dig Dug or Pac-Man are there, with a pair of more unknown games also making an appearance. It is worth mentioning how the second volume includes versions of all the games featured in the first, making the first volume even less interesting; while collectors maybe want both, the overall selection of games in the second volume is still much stronger than the first.

Both volumes include a pair of features that ease playing the games. These consist of a “rewind” button and the ability to make a few saves. As the name suggests, the first rewinds the game a few seconds, allowing players to evade and/or erase mistakes. The second is even more straightforward; at any time the player can open the menu and create up to four permanent save states each game.

The rewind feature does not always work properly though, at times forcing the player to use it several times in a row. This issue especially occurs after death, where the rewind leads to the moment right before it occurs, making it impossible to do anything. The inability to precisely control how much time is rewinded doesn’t help its cause either, with cases where the player might go too far back and lose progress.

Conclusion

The Namco Museum Archive Volumes 1 and 2 are a pair of steep priced and lackluster game collections. The games included don’t justify the cost, especially for those with an interest in both volumes due to the roster similarities. The lack of added features only adds insult to injury, making the collections lack basic quality of life functions that any other modern game would include.

Personal Opinion

“I personally wouldn’t buy these games at all, nor even consider buying them. For the 20€ that each of them costs I can think of way better and more worthwhile games to buy which don’t have a complete lack of features. If I were to buy one of these collections at the very least I expect some additional content such as information about the games, a nice UI, or actual settings, which neither of these two have. Besides the games working as they would in any other emulator, these collections offer nothing to the consumer. The games themselves are not the problem, but rather the container itself. If I wanted to play these games there are much better ways to do so.”

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Rating: 8.8/10 (4 votes cast)
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Namco Museum Archives Volumes 1 and 2 - Review, 8.8 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

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